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Through investigating the temperature dependent current-voltage (--) properties of GaN based blue and green LEDs in this study, we propose an asymmetric tunneling model to understand the leakage current below turn-on voltage ( < 3.2 V): At the forward bias within 1.5 V ∼ 2.1 V (region 1), the leakage current is main attributed to electrons tunneling from the conduction band of n-type GaN layer to the valence band of p-type GaN layer via defect states in space-charge region (SCR); While, at the forward bias within 2 V ∼ 2.4 V (region 2), heavy holes tunneling gradually becomes dominant at low temperature (T < 200K) as long as they can overcome the energy barrier height. The tunneling barrier for heavy holes is estimated to be lower than that for electrons, indicating the heavy holes might only tunnel to the defect states. This asymmetric tunneling model shows a novel carrier transport process, which provides better understanding of the leakage characteristics and is vital for future device improvements.


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